Thursday, June 29, 2023




Ford resurrected the Maverick nameplate last year but not as a two-door coupe it put out in the early 1970s to compete against the import compacts that were just emerging in the U.S., but rather a small pickup to fill out the company’s truck fleet.

Though not a threat to unseat the perennial top-selling full-size F-Series in the Ford stable, the Maverick is holding its own against other compact pickups, including its older company sibling Ranger and Japanese imports.

With a hybrid drivetrain as standard, the 2023 Ford Maverick enjoys a huge advantage over its competitors in fuel efficiency. Though the company is a little more generous in its numbers, the government (EPA) places the Maverick at 40 miles-per-gallon around town, 33 highway, and 37 combined using regular octane gasoline. (Ford claims 42 for the city.)

An optional 2.0-liter turbo 4-banger trims those numbers to 23/30/25 for FWD models and 22/28/24 for AWD versions while upping power to 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid gets a combined 162 hp and 155 lb.-ft. from a combination of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 94 kW electric motor.

That may not be all that impressive but the hybrid didn’t seem to suffer much from a lack of power during my week of mostly around town driving.

Not including models equipped with the Tremor off-road packages Ford added this year, the 2023 Ford Maverick comes in three trim levels starting with the base XL and continuing up the food chain with the XLT and top-of-the-line Lariat.

All check in with starting MSRPs of under $30,000, though adding the Tremor Off-Road Package ($2,295) or Tremor Appearance Package ($1,495) puts the Lariat over $30,000. 

Ford did not include pricing on the spec sheet for the XLT model it delivered to my house, but with a starting price of nearly $26,000 and extras like Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of safety features (pre-collision assist with automatic braking, blind-spot warning with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and auto high-beam assist) and a spray-in bedliner it likely flirted with the $30,000 mark.

The 2023 Ford Maverick comes with a five-passenger SuperCrew Cab on all trims. Hybrid models get a continuously variable transmission while the available 2.0L Ecoboost 4-cylinder is mated to an 8-speed manual transmission.

A 4.5-foot cargo box is standard on all trims with a maximum payload of 1,500 pounds for either drivetrain. Towing capacity is 2,000 pounds though adding a Tow Package to models with the 2.0L Ecoboost engine doubles that to heftier 4,000 pounds.

The cabin is roomy (42.8 inches of front legroom, 35.9 in the second row) and comfortable enough and the overall ambiance leans toward utilitarian over luxury. It would be unfair to label it “spartan.”

Standard features on the 2023 Ford Maverick XLT include LED headlamps, cruise control, manual single-zone climate control, a rotary gear selector mounted on the center console, 8-inch touchscreen for infotainment features, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the FordPass Connect system to connect to the Internet.

For features like navigation, adaptive cruise control, and push-button start you must add options to the 2023 Ford Maverick XLT or upgrade to the top-of-the-line Lariat trim.

What I liked about the 2023 Ford Maverick XLT:
The hybrid drivetrain provides excellent fuel mileage without the need to plug in as well as delivering a pretty nice kick in the way of acceleration. User-friendly infotainment features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and wifi connectivity. The interior is roomy and comfortable with lots of storage options, including an under-the-seat space in the second row. Pricing overall is friendly enough.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Ford Maverick XLT: The hybrid drivetrain is mated to a CVT. Be nice to have an 8-speed transmission like models with the optional 2.5-liter Ecoboost engine. Might get a little better response in the way of performance. Many attractive features (like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot warning) add to cost as options.

Would I buy the 2023 Ford Maverick XLT? If you are looking for a pickup truck but are put off by the size and pricing of full-size models, the Maverick is a great choice. It is big enough to handle many tasks the average homeowner confronts while retaining the ability to fit easily into most mall parking spaces. 

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